The Northwest Herald Editorial Board offers this week’s thumbs up and thumbs down:
Thumbs down: To the latest unemployment report. McHenry County’s jobless rate spiked to 9 percent in June, up from 8.8 percent in June 2012. Across Illinois, the unemployment rate stands at 9.8 percent. Nationally, it’s 7.8 percent. That means the jobless rate in Illinois is 20 percent higher than the rest of the country. Hey state leaders, you think you can make Illinois any less friendly to job creators? Keep stalling on pension reform and talking about a graduated income tax increase and the answer to that question, sadly, is yes.
Thumbs up: To recognizing heroes. The Harvard Fire Protection District and Harvard Police Department this week bestowed honors upon three men who earlier in the month jumped into a pond after a canoe carrying three boys tipped over. Resident Tyler Kurth, 26, was awarded the Lifesaving Certificate award from the fire district and the Award of Valor from the police department after he jumped into the pond and brought a boy to safety. Pete Livdahl and Charles Lorenz, who work for the fire district, also were honored for jumping into the pond in street clothes upon arrival on the scene to help a man who also had jumped in to help and was clinging to the canoe. Too often those who act poorly are the ones who receive attention. Positive acts deserve recognition, and we applaud the local Harvard departments for realizing that.
Thumbs down: To the expense of $70 million in state money to acquire land for another Chicago area airport. What is it going to take for the leaders of Illinois to realize that the state is broke, and, until huge matters such as pension reform are resolved, is in no position to spend on new undertakings. The third airport political battle has gone on for decades, but with the state’s bond rating and debt in spiraling decline, this was not the time to resolve it.
Thumbs up: To the McHenry County Youth Sports Association and all the work it does to conduct the Summer International Championships baseball tournaments. Fifteen-and-under, 13-and-under and 11-and-under teams from around the world will be competing in McHenry County over the next eight days. If you enjoy youth baseball, get out to a local ballpark and support the tournaments and the kids.
Thumbs up: To the Spring at Crystal Lake Rehabilitation Center for holding a breakfast, which it does four times a year, to welcome back former patients in its physical rehabilitation program. Often, businesses move on when patients complete their programs and never see them again. In this case, the center showed its care for former patients by inviting them to return.